Teen pregnancy is still a major problem for those in North Carolina and around the country who go through the actual experience and become parents. However, much of the focus is on the mothers. Traditionally, teen fathers are only thought of as financial providers. Despite these assumptions, however, teen fathers often plan an active role as caregivers for their children as well.
Active involvement in their children’s lives has been shown to be beneficial for both the children and the teen fathers. For example, children whose fathers were actively involved in their lives were more likely to have better reasoning skills, higher self-esteem and higher educational achievement. Teen fathers who were active in their children’s lives also showed a decrease in negative behaviors, such as substance or alcohol abuse.
However, the fathers’ role in teen parenting has been discounted beyond financial obligations. Many teen fathers do not get the support they need to play a valuable role in their children’s lives. In fact, a national study found that 63 percent of teen dads do not feel they get enough credit for their involvement. In the same study, 64 percent of moms agreed with this sentiment.
In most cases, children benefit the most when they are able to have a relationship with both of their parents, even if the parents are an unmarried couple. However, mothers are still traditionally seen as the main caregiver, meaning fathers often do not get enough time with their children. Not only does this diminish the father’s role, but it also prevents the children from having him in their lives. A fathers’ rights attorney could assist with fighting for joint legal and physical custody or increasing the father’s parenting time.